In Canada, the supreme court has ruled that obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights within Canada. [Yahoo!] (Thanks, Steven!)


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  1. hopson77 says:

    I’m a rather large person, and I think that’s crap.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @hopson77: Would you rather have someone sitting next to you complaining about you during the flight or to the whole interwebs afterward?

      I think its courteous. Surely it kinda singles people out, but at least you’re comfy AND ITS FREE!

      • tonyta says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: “that’s crap” because it will inevitably raise prices for all other travellers. So while the second seat is free for my larger friends, I will end up paying a bit more for mine.

      • RagingBoehner says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: Free for whom? Certainly not free for the airline who can’t resell the seat.

        Southwest probably has the most reasonable policy which states that you have to reserve two seats but you only have to pay for two if the flight is otherwise sold out.

  2. tonyta says:

    Thin people should also have the right to have two seats for the price of one. This seriously make no sense. I hope there’s more to it than just this.

  3. GothamGal says:

    So is there a scale to judge this or can a person just say “I eat lard for breakfast, can I have 2 seats for the price of one?”

  4. donovanr says:

    Stop putting stuff in your pie hole!!!

  5. stchoo says:

    Only people who are “functionally disabled by obesity” qualify. I wonder how that is determined?

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @stchoo: I think your doctor can “prescribe” (lack of better word) it. You can get a handicap tag for being too fat.

    • CountryJustice says:

      @stchoo: “Functionally disabled by obesity” basically means “I got so fat I can’t even walk now.” I have little sympathy for anyone in that state.

      On the other hand, “Obese by functional disability” is totally different. If you get fat simply because of a pre-existing condition that prevents you from being active, my heart goes out.

      • stevejust says:

        @CountryJustice: Have the person stop eating meat and see if they become “obese by functional disability…”

        People that eat like pigs look like pigs because they eat pigs. People are fat cows because they eat fat cows. And dairy? The purpose of milk, what it is designed to do by nature is turn a 70 pound calf into a 400 pound cow in a matter of months.

        I can’t imagine why people get so damn fat…

        Even if you can’t exercise, you can still make smart choices about what you eat.

        • ElizabethD says:

          So, Stevejust, by your logic you must look like a pile of kale and berries and tofu, right? *wolf whistle*

        • CountryJustice says:

          @stevejust: I don’t disagree in the least. People need to be held responsible for their own choices.

        • starrytrekchic says:


          I am veggie, have been for 12 years, and I still got significantly overweight (have lost it now.) Just avoiding meat is no guarantee of healthy living or weight loss. Exercise, health, activity level, metabolism, and good food choices all play a part.

        • Brothernod says:

          @stevejust: I’m not a fan of obesity, and I’m leaning towards feeling this law is stupid.


          There are situations that can cause obesity without a person being at fault. Many medications for serious illnesses result in considerable weight gain.

          I’m all for encouraging people to be healthier but don’t be blindly prejudiced.

  6. innout3x3 says:

    I think that’s total BS. I used to be on the hefty side also. You pay for the space. If your displacement takes up 2 seats you should pay for 2 seats.

    • innout3x3 says:

      @innout3x3: It’s not Disneyland. You shouldn’t get a 2fer.

    • VigilanteKitteh says:

      @innout3x3: exactly. the airlines lose money, bacuse this displaces one normal-sized payign customer.

    • Kloud says:

      @innout3x3: Airlines should make a row of seats that accomadate to larder customers. These seats should be priced 1.5-2.0x more. It’s just a matter of working obesity into a system that doesn’t factor it in at this point.

      • yasth says:

        @Kloud: You can’t increase seat width without either reducing other seat widths or the aisle, and I believe the aisle is already the minimal practical width, so what you are more or less talking about is business class… which does exist.

  7. mattharvest says:

    Wait, so they get twice as much product, for the same price? Does Canada not understand that this amounts to simple discrimination against people who aren’t morbidly obese?

    I’m not saying anything about the causes of obesity, but the simple fact is that you’re not just paying to get from A to B, but rather the space to get you from A to B. This is why you’re limited as to your carry-ons, etc. By giving morbidly obese people two spaces for the price of one, you’re (a) injuring the airlines for something they’re not responsible for, and (b) devaluing the purchases by those of us who aren’t morbidly obese.

    The smart way to do it is what some airlines already do: force the person to pay for two seats, and if the plane flies with at least one open seat, they refund the second fare. That way, no one is injured or wrongfully benefited.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @mattharvest: Technically isn’t this safer though? Instead of packing the airplane like a cattle car, it actually gives *everyone* personal space and room to maneuver.

      • Tmoney02 says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: Making the people pay for two seats has the same effect as giving it to them for free, without the discrimination/incentive toward obesity.

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          @Tmoney02: And making them pay for 2 seats when there’s obviously room is non-discrimination how?

          • Ratty says:

            @Oranges w/ Cheese: There isn’t always room. Like what was aaid, if there is an extra seat they get refunded for the second seat. if not, they prevented a second fare-paying customer from occupying the seat and should pay for it.

            Moreover, they might consider instituting a smaller per-seat fee up to X pounds, and then over X pounds you get charged extra incrementally per Y pounds for burning fuel. harder to do online ticket sales that way, though.

  8. JanDuKretijn says:

    There should be more disincentives to obesity, aside from health and dignity. One less now.

  9. BobCoyote says:

    I’d be interested to see how exactly they’re justifying this decision. Personally, I think the fairest way to deal with passengers of wildly varying sizes is to base the ticket price on weight and body width. By not taking this into account, smaller people are subsidizing the additional costs of transporting large people.

    I don’t fly so often, but I’ve sat too many times already next to people who presumably paid the same price as me, but are occupying an uncomfortably large percentage of my seat.

    • Etoiles says:

      @BobCoyote: So, wait a second. My mom is 5′ even and overweight, but takes up less space in an airplane, because of her build, than I do at 5’8″ and a healthy weight. I have broad shoulders, broad hips, and long legs. Her ticket should cost less than mine, when purchased at the same time, to get to the same destination?

      I don’t think so.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    I also find this objectionable. When you ship a package by UPS, they price is according to weight and size. Air transport is no different, it is about moving cargo, human and otherwise.

    I weight 200 lbs and pay $300 for a ticket. My luggage weighs 50lbs and I pay a $50.00 surcharge. I pay $350.00 for a total of 250lbs.

    My fellow passenger who weighs 300 lbs pays $300 for a ticket and has a 25 lbs carryon with no surcharge. His cost $300.00 to transport 325lbs.

    Me $1.40 per pound
    Him $0.92 per pound

    Is this fair?

    • full.tang.halo says:

      @SkokieGuy: Dont you know logic has no place in Canadian courts…

      But in all seriousness, I totally agree with you.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @SkokieGuy: Airplanes (with the exception of luggage) are not a “per pound” transport system. They’re per unit.

      You are one unit. Your fellow passenger is one unit.

      You chose to pack heavy, he did not. Done.

      • Sasselhoff says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: That’s fine, but how does the fact that the fellow “large” passenger is not one unit when he/she takes up two seats?

        I’m 6’4″ and am a 44 long, so I’m wider than normal (not “fat”–though I used to be) and taller than normal. Do I get any kind of special treatment because I’m tall?

        Given this law, shouldn’t domesticated bigfeet(token Eddie Murphy quote)like me get preferential treatment as well?

  11. EyeHeartPie says:

    How can a society fight against obesity while giving perks to obese people? This is not just equal treatment…this is giving preferential treatment to obese people.

    Also, does this mean a person with a small child should be entitled to another seat for no extra charge? That person would need the extra seat for baby stuff/car seat/carrier/etc…

  12. kepler11 says:

    if you read the article, the story is that the supreme court of Canada declined to hear the case, which can be for any number of reasons. So the lower court’s judgment stands, which I would be curious to know on what grounds it was decided. If the decision is based on the particular condition of obesity, then are such people entitled to receive a large SUV when buying an econobox car? The reasoning is the same, is it not?

  13. scoosdad says:

    How is this going to work, practically? Will you have to provide proof of weight to the airlines so that they set aside two seats in their reservation system for you? I can’t see this working on an ad hoc basis, where someone shows up at the airport, demonstrates his size to the gate agent, and they magically come up with an extra seat for him. This would create chaos in the seat assignment system. What if they don’t have an open seat? Could they bump a non-obese person to make room? I say they would, and they’d point to the supreme court decision making it OK for them to do so in order to “make an accommodation”.

    I’m glad to see the courts recognize the reality of the situation (I’ve been trapped on long flights next to people who oozed into my seat many times) but I just can’t see how they’re going to handle this or make it work.

  14. chikarin says:

    why would you think this is a “perk” for being obese?

    it’s like saying that you’re going to become paralyzed to park in handicap spots, this is only for those who are obese to a point of being labeled as disabled.

    • chikarin says:

      @chikarin: hmm guess i clicked on the wrong person’s reply button :(

    • Vivelafat says Vive La Obama says:

      @chikarin: I think I love you.

    • corporatedrone says:

      @chikarin: I don’t think the rationale really fits… Yes, some people are obese because of medical conditions (so comparable to handicapped people – they have no choice in the matter). But a lot of obese people are obese because they eat too much and don’t excercise. For those people, this extra seat is a “perk” of being obese. And while I think everyone agrees it makes it more comfortable for everyone involved, the issue is – who pays for it? And following the extra seat logic, shouldn’t every tall person be given an exit row seat every time because it’s uncomfortable for them to sit in a regular seat?

      • Absent minded or just absent says:

        @corporatedrone: Yes! A thousand times yes! At 6′-7″ I find few things more frustrating than a 5′-2″ person in the exit row as I squeeze into a “standard” seat, knees pressed into the back of the seat in front of me just between the magazines and the tray table.

  15. TheBusDriver says:

    Do they also get two meals?

  16. muddgirl says:

    Obesity is not a crime. Obesity’s primary cause is not overeating. Obesity is a physical condition that should be accommodated.

    What’s next, are we going to criticise airlines for allowing a person extra leg room to accommodate her prosthetic leg? Or are we going to say that she SHOULD have been more careful in the first place, or she SHOULD pay extra for a higher-quality leg, if she has the temerity to even fly in such a condition!

    I have a solution – make airline seats bigger for everyone, and increase the price of tickets for everyone. There, now y’all can put away your sense of superiority.

    • hopson77 says:

      @muddgirl: I don’t think anyone is suggestion that being obese is a crime, but it doesn’t mean that someone who is larger than most should be afforded twice the amount of real estate than others. If an obese person (or anyone else for that matter) wants two seats, then you gotta pay for them.

      Furthermore, what exactly is the primary cause of obesity?

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @muddgirl: Obesity is not a crime, but yes it’s primary cause IS overeating.

      You consume more calories than you expend and you gain weight. Period.

      Most medical problems do not cause obesity, they are the result of it, (bad knees, heart conditions, diabetes, etc. etc.).

      Yes, a few conditions can cause obesity, thyroid and hormone problems, etc., but that is the minority of cases.

      Airline transport costs are a function of size and weight and nothing more. If you take up more space or weigh more, then you cost more to transport. This is not discriminatory, it is based on fact and actual costs.

      How about a seasonal analogy? You and I both ship Christmas presents to our relatives, you send a large flat screen TV to your brother. I send two coloring books to my niece. Should UPS charge us the same amount to ship?

      • Vivelafat says Vive La Obama says:

        @SkokieGuy: You know how much I respect you skokieguy but you are a little off on this one. Obesity has several genetic markers. You mention overeating as the primary cause of obesity, but you fail to take into account the genetic causes for energy expenditure.

        Meaning, some people are genetically predetermined to fidget more or burn calories more efficiently. These people can eat pretty much whatever they want, and never gain weight. Some people, however, eat very normal amounts of food, and manage to gain weight consistently.

        As far as your freight analogy, I think it would be detrimental for airlines to charge via weight and would inhibit heavier (not just obese) patrons from flying. It would be discriminatory towards males (as they tend to be heavier) It would be discriminatory towards Samoans or other races that have genetically large frames. It would mean that only the thin or light could afford to fly and would encourage unhealthy habits (such as starving oneself before a flight, vomiting before a flight, abusing diet pills before a flight etc)to lower the weight of the passenger. It would effect all employers who pay for the cost of travel, as they would have a vested interested in hiring thin or light employees, so as to cut travel cost. Also, how would you determine the amount of space a 300lb man gets as opposed to a 90lb woman. You couldn’t expect them both to sit in the same sized seat. When you pay for a flight you are paying for passage, not the seat itself.

      • Vivelafat says Vive La Obama says:

        @SkokieGuy: Please see this link on genetic influence of obesity.

        • Smoking Pope says:

          @Vivelafat says Vive La Obama: Oh, and I do agree with you that there are genetic components to obesity, although I’m not sure if anyone has determined what percentage of obese people have them.

          However, you can say overeating is the cause of obesity if you define overeating as eating more than your body is able to burn, genetic profile taken into account.

          None of this is to say that an obese person is necessarily at fault for their obesity, just that the term overeating shouldn’t automatically be construed as having a negative connotation.

    • Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

      I care because a fair portion of the time I fly I end up sitting next to someone who’s literally spilling over into my seat because they’re too cheap to pay for an extra seat. Now the same people are entitled to an extra seat for free (and by free I mean the cost will be distributed to the rest of the passengers).

      Obese is the new black? Don’t get me started.

      • Jackasimov says:

        @Hate_Brian_Club:Where else do you think you could get away with talking rabid crap about another member of the human race and have everyone else spill on board behind you like a trail of smoking diarrhea but in a blatantly racist/sexist/etc. situation. I don’t really care about the airline issue as much as I do the people running their apparently underfed pieholes with their bile. I think that’s what sucks. I do think they should be accommodated and for no charge, If they are one person they deserve to pay the fare rate of one person. Are you that petty and simple that you think they’ve just gone and done it to themselves haven’t they?… Makes for a pretty easy target doesn’t it.

        “Obese is the new black? Don’t get me started.” Don’t get me started.

        • Smoking Pope says:

          @Jackasimov: Then by your logic, shouldn’t obese people get 2 meals for the price of one? If their obesity necessitates free additional seating in an airline, why should food be any different?

          Or let’s use the automobile as an example. Should GM be required to build an extra large car for the obese and sell it at the same price as a car that uses far less parts and materials? If so, aren’t the autoworkers now working harder per car for the same amount of pay? Isn’t that unfair to them?

          The problem with trying to make life fair is that you cannot make it fair for everyone. You level the playing field out for one group and you tilt it for another. Where do you stop? Where is the line, and if there is a line, who defines it?

          I’m not slamming on the obese (see my replies above), just disagreeing with the idea that a disadvantage or a difference should automatically entitle someone to something others do not get. That’s a very slippery slope and if past history is any indication, it’s very easy to mess it up badly.

    • INsano says:


      Yes, let’s make all the chairs bigger to accomodate the fat population. Then let’s choose upholstry covered in crosses for the christians, ice-cool the seats for penguins lest they break a sweat, and make the tray tables taste of lollipops for children who might want to lick them. This kind of shit would never be discussed in a bus or a train, why does the population have such lofty and romantic notions for air travel?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @INsano: It would be nice if they made the chairs bigger to accomodate HUMANS.
        As it is they’re packed in like cattle. They’d get more business from fewer people per plane, thus better flight experience, thus more return customers, thus more money.
        Win. Win.

    • ironchef says:

      @muddgirl: People who need more space can pay and SHOULD pay for it.

    • Smoking Pope says:

      @muddgirl: Make seats bigger and make everyone pay more. This is a fair solution? How is making the majority of people pay more for air fare more inherently fair than making the minority of people pay for the space they’re using?

      Life is not fair, and usually attempts to make it so via legislative fiat are expensive and wind up being more unfair on the whole than the original situation.

      • Vivelafat says Vive La Obama says:

        @Smoking Pope: Guess what… The majority of Americans are overweight so making the majority of people pay more would be fair.

        • Smoking Pope says:

          @Vivelafat says Vive La Obama: While the majority of Americans may be overweight, I believe we are talking about Canada here, no?

          Still, the majority of Canadians are also overweight (although the percentage isn’t as high). However, what we’re really talking about here is not someone who is 10 pounds over the limit, but rather someone who is obese. In America, the obesity rate is 31%, while in Canada it is 36.1%, which does, in fact, put them in the minority.

    • Vivelafat says Vive La Obama says:

      @muddgirl: As you can probably tell by my screen name, I am a little biased, but I am so glad you said this. The Consumerist is a notoriously fat bashing forum. I resolved to stay away from this thread for my own sanity, but I am so happy someone else carried on the banner! Keep up the good fight.

  17. Jackasimov says:

    I think what’s crap is the people up in arms over it “not being fair”. Why exactly do you care? What does this take away from you? Whatta bunch of self-righteous (I’m assuming skinny little-) turds. So you’ll complain if they sit next to you and their fatty arms touch yours in any way (or maybe if you are made to feel just uncomfortable by their very presence) and you’ll complain if they get an extra seat to store their fatty bodies. Your indignation smacks of lifelong impotence. Go pick on someone your own size!

    Obese is the new black.

    PS May you dream of fat men chasing you long short hallways. forever.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @Jackasimov: Clearly you are a troll.

      Rather than reply with your uneccesary hostility, let’s respond with facts, that you could have gleaned from other posts.

      People are upset because airline costs are a function of the weight they transport in a finite amount of space. Airlines charge by weight for cargo and luggage, but not for passengers. That means that heavy people fly for less per pound than smaller people.

      YOU are choosing to make this some sort of anti-fat issue. Others of us do see this as a consumer issue of people being charged fairly for the services received.

      And to take away the fat / skinny anger you seem to have, what about buying a seat for a child? Is it fair to pay the same to transport a 60 lbs child that it is to transport a 200 lb adult? Yes, they take the same space (fill one seat) but their weight variation means the fuel cost to transport them is not equal.

      There – you have just received a far more dignified response than your post deserves

      You turd.

      • KLETCO says:

        @SkokieGuy: BRAVO! I started to reply and just got angry and canceled. You did a much better job than I would have.

      • Vivelafat says Vive La Obama says:

        @SkokieGuy: Passengers account for only 9% of a 747s weight, if the average passenger is 188 pounds and there are 450 passengers on the plane (fuel tanks and cargo account for the rest) I find it amusing that you seem to think the weight of a 60lb child varies the fuel usage significantly as opposed to the weight of 200lb adult. Does fuel usage increase with weight? Absolutely. But I don’t think the difference is a much as you think it is.

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          @Vivelafat says Vive La Obama: Seriously! Let’s take into account the irresponsible packers who bring along 8 SUITCASES OF SHOES before we holler at the people who take up a few extra inches or creep their neighbors out because they’re a bit larger. Jeez.

          It’d be safer all around for airlines to reduce the amount of people on each flight just because of the fact that people in general are getting heavier, instead of cramming us in like cattle.

          • coren says:

            @Oranges w/ Cheese: 8 suitcases of shoes? You pay extra for those.

            Just like you used to pay for taking up more than one seat. Which was the fair way to do it. No one is preventing you from going anywhere, just charging you for the accommodations you take up. Airlines rent you seats, in the end. If you use more than one, you pay for more than one.

      • Jackasimov says:

        @SkokieGuy: Whatever Skokie. Yes, I AM trying to make this an anti-fat issue because otherwise you get to hide behind your mock-incredulity and get to claim it’s all in the interest of equality/fairness/blah-blah.

        You so-called consumers always do tend to side against humanity and in favor of shaving off a few bucks. And it’s always in the interest of fairness. Good luck with that, in life.

        In these types of posts here in the past it’s always been “stop eating so damn much”, “if they’d only quit spilling into my seat”. Couple that with all the anti-kid airline ire and it’s always the same shit. You can claim fairness. I can claim bullshit. I should know, I’m a bullshitter.

        You claim it’s all over-eating that causes obesity. Say it is brought on by just simple overeating. How many Americans out of the morbidly obese population do you think would choose to be that way? Just take a guess? Out of say 3 million people how many. And do you really think that 3 million (not counting the other 40 million-ish just “simply obese” people) just really like eating a whole bunch ’cause it’s fun and tastes good. It just doesn’t make sense. There’s clearly something else going on here and it isn’t as simple as “gluttony” (ironchef). There’s a few schools of thought out there having to do with psychology that I won’t bother to completely slaughter the details of here.

        Troll? Yeah sure. OK. Whatever that means to you. But what I’m not is a bigot. I know that probably means nothing to you but that’s what irks me and that’s why I say what I say time and time again.

        I like fat people as much as anyone else, and what I’d say to you I’d say to them? How about you, would you express your views in mixed company? Maybe that should be the definition of intolerance.

        There – you have received exactly what your post deserves.

    • ironchef says:

      @Jackasimov: gluttony is nothing to be proud of.

    • Parapraxis says:

      @Jackasimov: well played, well played.

      I think this is such a touchy subject people’s sarcasm detectors are inoperative…

    • Smoking Pope says:

      @Jackasimov: Yeah, everyone’s up in arms because it’s not fair. But you’re under the mistaken assumption that it’s one-sided.

      Obese people claim it’s not fair that they have to pay for two seats if they need two seats. Non-obese people claim it’s not fair that they will end up paying for this through higher air fare rates.

      You’re right. The “it’s not fair!” argument is crap. If you were 5 (which the jury is still out on), your parents could instantly give you the correct answer: life’s not fair.

      • Jackasimov says:

        @Smoking Pope:
        You know nothing about what assumptions I may or may not be making.

        • Smoking Pope says:

          @Jackasimov: Apparently so. When you said:

          “I think what’s crap is the people up in arms over it “not being fair”. Why exactly do you care? What does this take away from you?”

          …I assumed that “What does this take away from you?” meant you were attacking those who disagree with the two seat policy, specifically because they were complaining it wasn’t fair. (And every other statement of yours I read backs this up.)

          I merely pointed out that by your very own logic, you can’t logically defend the decision to grant two for one seating for the obese.

          Of course, my (faulty) assumption was that your position was based on logic. I happily concede that I have no idea what thoughts might be going through your head.

    • ralfhutter says:

      I’m a skinny turd. Can I get a seat for half price? Am I missing something. Is fat absorbed somehow through the skin? Is it gained through breathing too much air? Oh no that’s right it’s from a high caloric diet. It’s called self control. @Jackasimov:

  18. HarcourtArmstrong says:

    I’d be happier if they let me buy two seats so I can have an empty one next to me. (I’m not obese) So now people who pay for two seats get one, and people who pay for one seat get two? That’s unjust!

  19. Jackasimov says:

    “…chasing you down long hallways”
    Jeezus, you’ve gone and made me all mad and fucked up my rant.

    • VigilanteKitteh says:

      @Jackasimov: That doesn’t scare me in the least! Being in shape, and a runner, those fat men will tire themselves and have heart attacks attempting to chase me down a long hallway.

  20. prag says:

    I’m really tall. It’s not my fault. I hope I can get two seats next flight (including the one in front of me) to make me more comfortable.

    • Jackasimov says:

      @prag: If it’s a matter of safety, you sure could have an extra seat for free on my airline! If you’re just tall from eating too much red meat as a kid I reckon it’s your own fault (or maybe your folks) and you have to foot the bill like everybody seems to want the fat people to. Life’s tough. Get shorter.

  21. Jackasimov says:

    Harcourt: who exactly pays for two seats?

    • ironchef says:

      @Jackasimov: the rest of the normal sized passengers via higher fares. if 10 morbidly obese people board a plane, that’s 10 seats that must be made up with higher fares for everyone.

      • VigilanteKitteh says:

        @ironchef: What will the arilines do, I wonder, if one obese person comes on, and all the other seats are taken? does the person with the adjacent seat, that now has to go to the obese, get bumped to first class? I would hope so. One good thing about Canadian airlines: One time, a fat person sat next to me and squished me up against the window on a long flight, the staff noticed, and gave me a free upgrade.

        • ironchef says:

          @VigilanteKitteh: provided there is a free seat to trade or upgrade to. Most flights today are overbooked and packed to the gills. I hate to think a person who feels entitled to an empty seat has to do it at the cost of a passenger trying to get home for the holidays.

        • coren says:

          @VigilanteKitteh: They’ll have to have made those arrangements in advance, I’m betting, and if not they’ll play the standby game

      • Jackasimov says:

        @ironchef: the literal definition of “fuzzy math.” Odds are slim you’re getting on board with 10 obese people. If you did get saddled with that expense do you really see yourself paying @VigilanteKitteh: You think you’ve got it all figured out, eh Jim Fix? NO one said they’d be playing fair and chasing you from only one end of the hallway. Good luck, skinny.

  22. zigziggityzoo says:

    Here’s a way to get around the ruling: Charging passengers for tickets by the pound.

    It pays to lose weight.

  23. coan_net says:

    So when I go to McDonalds, I should be able to get 1 meal for 1 price – not pay for MORE FOOD or to UPSIZE!

  24. unobservant says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. You Americans get two Dodge Rams for the price of one. ;)

    Seriously, though, it would make sense for the obese (or tall – or anyone who wants extra wiggle room) to buy two seats and, if there are extra seats left over on the flight, they get the second seat refunded. It’s a lovely compromise, in my opinion (and, being Canadian, I’m all about lovely compromises).

    What airlines do this? And why don’t they all?

    • scoosdad says:

      @unobservant: Here’s the issue. When extra seats for the obese are free for the asking, they ask. When extra seats cost you money with the possibility that you may get it for free when you check in, no one will buy them upfront and we’re back to the same scenario.

  25. Tsiroch says:

    Well, I’m 6’5” and 380lbs. I’ve flown quite a few times before, and it is, indeed, a pain in the ass for fat folks. The problem with this ruling, is actually that giving fat people two seats will do absolutely NO good. Every single plane I’ve ever ridden on had ‘armrests’ (yeah, right – if you’re 4 foot tall) between the seats that either didn’t fold up, or only partially folded up. What’s the point of having two seats if you can’t really SIT in two seats.

    • Tsiroch says:

      @Tsiroch: BTW, despite being fat, my biggest problem is actually leg room. I fit in the seat admirably, but unless I’m in First Class, my legs are literally jammed against the seat in front of me – Six foot five and all.

  26. Yessizzle says:

    Total bull. You pay extra if your luggage is overweight, but if you’re overweight you get a two for one special. I think it’s crap. And discriminatory.

  27. INsano says:

    I am neurotic and believe that my best friend is an imaginary chicken named Horace. Since this is not something I can willfully control (I’m a VICTIM, I’m a VICTIM), this means I get an additional seat next to me at no cost, to the inequity of others and cost to the airline, right?

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @INsano: You have the winning post of the day.

      IMHO as long as Horace goes through normal security screenings and does not have more than one carry one and one personal item, I’m fine with it.

  28. bravo369 says:

    So does this mean that someone 6ft 7 won’t be charged more for having the seat with more legroom?

    • Anonymous says:

      @bravo369: Nope, because people fail to see that tall people are being discriminated against by the tiny amount of legroom and are denied the ability to switch with the (usually) much shorter people in those seats.

  29. Geekybiker says:

    So start charging by weight. Say that a ticket is for 250lbs of transport, including luggage. If you want to bring more you pay overage.

  30. OldSpinDoc says:

    It means they’ll raise their prices for everyone to cover the cost of the occasional broad-bottom…

  31. bagumpity says:

    Airlines made their own beds on this one. Look at your ‘contract for carriage’ (aka “ticket”) terms. You can find them online or sometimes printed on those folders that hold ticket, boarding pass, etc.. It’s clearly stated that you have purchased a ticket to be conveyed from point A to point B. You aren’t guaranteed a flight (they can put you on a bus if they want to- and sometimes they do). You aren’t guaranteed a seat. Since you don’t buy “a seat” on “a plane,” they have to provide the same service to large people that they do to not-so-large people. How they do it is up to them, but they have no right (once the ticket is sold) to charge you more or less than anyone else, nor do they have the right to ask you for additional funds once you show up at the airport in size XXXXL jeans.

    Sorry, airlines. You can’t have it both ways. Either sell me “a seat” on “a plane” or take people from point A to point B as you agreed to do when you took their money.

  32. CountryJustice says:

    Question: Isn’t it likely that someone who is “Functionally disabled by obesity” not even be able to enter/exit the airplane of their own volition; e.g., in a wheelchair? If so, isn’t this a moot point anyway?

  33. eric4ok says:

    Obese people never admit they’re obese but I’ve sat next to some people that needed THREE seats.

  34. nfs says:

    This could potentially lead to higher fares to compensate for that dude to get 2 seats.

    Could be good, could be bad.

  35. Counterpoint says:

    Wow, I’m shocked and amazed how everyone turns capitalist / libertarian on this site when the subject is fat people.

    (For the record, I think the ruling is crap unless the person physically cannot help but being overweight i.e. they have something similar to hypothyroidism that can’t be treated, etc)

  36. Cattivella says:

    For those of you who consistently say on every thread re: the cost of airline tickets that airlines should simply charge by the pound and anything else is unfair:

    My grandmother is 5’0″ and of normal weight, due to a normal, healthy lifestyle and genetics; my brother is 6’6″ and muscular, due to a normal, healthy lifestyle and genetics. How is it fair that my brother, in your instance of paying by the pound, would pay for over 100 lbs more than my grandmother, not because of any “fault” of his own (like people consider obesity someone’s fault), but purely due to genetics?

    It’s absolutely not fair and is, in fact, discriminatory, which is why no airline would ever adopt it.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @Cattivella: Currently your grandmother is being discriminated against because she costs less to fly (due to her lighter weight) than your brother, yet she is not charged less, or he more.

      And yes, in most cases, obesity is someone’s fault. Consume more calories than you expend and you will become fat. But this thread really is unrelated to ‘fault’ it is related to consumers being charged fairly for a service and not subsidizing others who cost more to fly by overcharging those who cost less to fly.

      Healthy / unhealthy / skinny / fat / muscular / fault / no-fault is all irrelevant in a weight based fare system. If your brother weighs 300 lbs and is muscular and health and my brother weighs 300 lbs and is short and fat, their fares should be the same, as they cost the airline the same amount to transport.

      Now if either of our brothers require an extra seat (your brother for legroom, or my brother for his fat ass) then they should be charged additional.

      How can a system that charges equally based on actual costs be considered discriminatory?

      • Cattivella says:

        @SkokieGuy: I’m not arguing that someone who takes up more than one seat shouldn’t have to pay for that extra seat.

        It’s discriminatory to charge based on “actual costs” because, in this instance, the actual cost is uncontrollable for the individual. Weight, for the most part, is controllable, but height is not. It’s discriminatory to make someone pay more money for an attribute they are not able to control (height, which generally raises weight), much like it would be discriminatory to charge someone more/less based on age or skin color – attributes outside of a persons control.

      • Jackasimov says:

        @SkokieGuy: I say get yourself your own airlines and use your little system. It seems like a grand idea. Do that. Go start an airlines. While your at it, straighten out the world. You’ve got some ideas about how to fix some stuff I’ll wager.

  37. narq says:

    If we want to be truly fair we should charge by weight. After all don’t we all pay more for extra weight in our luggage or an extra checked bag? Why should our luggage be prone to extra cost for extra weight and not our bodies?

    If you consider the number of overweight people grow steadily, isn’t charging higher ticket prices and distributing the cost unfair to those of us who are fit? It’s like charging a fee for being healthy. So don’t argue what’s fair, because it’s actually more unfair for us the way things are now. Airline charges have been far less fair to those of us who have to deal with people who take up their seat and part of ours. Just thinking about it makes me not want to fly. So who should they charge, the healthy, the overweight, the average, or everyone? Well none of those options are completely fair or PC, the only fair option is weighing passengers before they get on the plane and charging by weight. That’s what they do when you fly small charters.

    • Cattivella says:

      @narq: Why is that fair? Let’s take obesity out of this, which seems to be most people’s sticking point (“oh my god, fat people are SO DISGUSTING! Charge them more!”). Why is it fair to charge someone who is 6’6″ and fit (so you can’t complain)and, thus, heavier due to an attribute outside of their personal control, more, while someone who is “blessed” to be 5’0″ gets to fly for cheap?

      If you decide to charge by weight, you’re not just sticking it to the fat people, you’re sticking it to the tall people.

  38. Anonymous says:

    On the surface this looks like a bad decision, but I wonder what the repercussions would be if the court ruled differently. Would airlines then make smaller and smaller seats, forcing average-size individuals to purchase two seats, and larger people to purchase 3 or 4 seats? It’s a slippery slope that I’m sure airlines would love to fall down.

  39. Javert says:

    Actually, the real crime lies in the the poor person who has to sit next to someone who is overloading into their seat. Where is the justice for this person?

  40. J. Gov says:

    Hm. Must move to Canada and see if I can convince them that I deserve a free checked bag because I’m underweight.

  41. mizmoose says:

    Geez louise. The hatred in these comments is really impressive. Way to go with those “changes”, folks!

    First of all, the airlines wouldn’t be in the position of people needing two seats if the seats weren’t as small as possible, to try to cram as many people as possible into a plane. On some aircraft I’ve talked to flight attendants who have said that *they* sometimes don’t fit into the seats.

    I’m 5’3″ I weigh over 400 lbs. I’m disabled. Was I disabled before I weighed 400 lbs? Did I become 400 lbs by “eating lard for breakfast”? Is my disability because I weigh over 400 lbs?


    Not one of you has the right to judge another person, nor decide why they are the way they are. Karma will get those who think they can glance at a person and know everything about them.

    Shame on the majority of you for missing the point — it’s the airlines’ greed that has caused this, not the mythical “obesity crisis”.

    • Geekybiker says:

      @mizmoose: Doesn’t matter why you are 400 lbs. Don’t know, don’t care. Fact is you take up more than your alloted room and weight on the plane. I do think the airline should accommodate you in finding your two seats if required, but it shouldn’t be free.

    • Haltingpoint says:

      @mizmoose: You’re absolutely right, it is none of my business what led you to weigh over 400lbs and my heart goes out to you for your troubles.

      However, your weight DOES become my business when you:
      A. Spill over into a seat that I paid for and ruin my flight.
      B. Indirectly cause the price of my ticket to be raised because the airlines need to recoup the cost of giving you an extra seat for free (you didn’t think that money comes out of nowhere did you).

      I hate to sound harsh and I don’t mean this in a condescending tone at all which I know is sometimes hard to grasp with text. I just want to make it clear that we understand there may be a variety of reasons that led you to your current situation, but the bottom line is that one way or another, we should not have to pay the price for it.

      Yes, the greed of the airlines is a contributing factor and if they made the seats a reasonable size there wouldn’t be this issue. But they did, and the issue is there. It really sucks that your mere physical presence is a negative experience to some people and I wish that weren’t the case, but that is life.

  42. J.Heck says:

    This is ridiculous.

    And I say that as a heavy person who DOES have health problems that CAUSED my weight problems. Even as a person who has medical conditions that make it extremely difficult to lose weight, I still manage to keep myself at a point that still allows me to fit in a seat on an airplane (my thyroid is gone and I have severe PCOS). It can be done!